• 22Sep
    Uncategorized Comments Off on Back to the Books

    With Summer over and school starting back up, it’s been a little weird getting into a comfortable routine.  My classes this semester are a little bit different than last semester.  Monday and Thursday I have my 1-on-1 class, Monday being 10-12 and Thursday being 3:30-5:30.  Then my classroom class is Wednesday and Friday 9-12:15.  So it’s a very similar schedule but it still takes some getting used to.

    I feel like my retention was pretty good!  I had a little trouble remembering how to write some of the characters but it’s all coming back.  My classroom class has 5 students (including me) in it, so it actually feels like a class this semester!  The class has 2 returning students (the guy that I was in the class with last semester, plus the gal from France that started in the class before having to go home for a bit), then we have 2 new students.  One is from the Philippines and is frankly a little lost in my opinion.  Supposedly last semester she only was able to get through half of the first book, but this class is starting in the second book.  So there’s definitely a gap there.  Plus she’s very very very soft spoken.  So it’s hard to tell how much she really knows.  The other new guy is from North Carolina.  I’m guessing that he’s studied before, as his listening vocabulary is pretty big.  But characters are new for him to study and he too hasn’t read the first book.  So there is definitely a little gap there, but he’s been able to hold his own.

    My classroom teacher is the same but my 1-on-1 teacher changed.  I’ve only had 3 classes with the new teacher but so far it’s going really well.  I really like my new teacher’s pronunciation and the fact that my new teacher will wait until I say I give up to tell me the answer.  We’re still working on figuring out what exactly should be our subject matter, but that’s to be expected with a new teacher.

    In other news, I have a new housemate!  Jessica (see my http://www.iamluplup.com/2010/07/18/ post for picture) moved into the front room that used to be our “office”.  Her landlord recently sold her old apartment so she had to move out.  Plus her old roommates weren’t going to be able to live with her anymore, so she needed a new place to live.  Options are pretty scarce around here.  There is a trend to demolish all of the old buildings and then build new apartments.  However, the rate at which they destroy the old buildings is sooooo much faster than the rate at which they build new ones.  So naturally rent prices go high leaving Jessica without many options.  Luckily we have that extra room.  She moved in last Sunday and it’s been a lot of fun.  She’s a great addition to our house (and that’s not just because she can cook).  With the new roommate things have been a lot busier around the house, making it harder to find time to blog!!

    Guess I better get this one up while I have the chance!  More to come later in the near future!


  • 06Sep

    (well, my Chinese family that is).  I was bummed that I couldn’t go on our family camping trip… so I decided to take a trip of my own!

    10 days ago we (Ruth, Lucy (XiaoLu), Cindy (Chengcheng), Pei, Heng Yee, Andreas, and I) went on a nice excursion to Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian (Shangerila).  I’ve been to both Dali and Lijiang before but not Zhongdian.  For everyone else it was their first time to these places.  For Ruth it was her first time ever on a train, boat and gondola!


    Our first stop was a Bai Minority house place.  Our taxi driver, who suggested it, said that it was a beautiful place and that we were going to be in awe of it.  It was pretty, but lacked the awe factor.  We later found out that he is of the Bai Minority, so perhaps he was a little biased.  Just for clarification… from left to right… Heng Yee, Pei, Ruth, Lucy, Cindy and Andreas in the back.


    Here we are in the gondola thing going up the mountain in Dali!


    Here we are in the mountains where for some reason the Guiness World Record for the largest Chinese Chess set is.


    The water was pretty cold!


    Sometimes I like taking funny pictures like this… here’s a horse walking through our picture… so I thought I’d take it anyway… hehe.


    Lijiang Old Town at night!  I think it looks so much better with all the pretty lights!


    Tiger-leaping gorge!  Definitely one of the trip highlights for me.  The best part was the car ride to here!  We arrived by van to one spot where we were told that the road is under construction so only locals were allowed to drive.  At first we thought that it was just a plot by the locals to get you to pay for their car but once we were on the road we started to think otherwise!  Imagine driving on the edge of the cliff with no guard rails, the road is not only unpaved, but uneven, and at times flooded or muddy, plus add in trying to share the road with construction equipment and trucks!  It was something that needed to be put in Disneyland.


    At the end of the treacherous driving path was a just as treacherous hiking path.  5 of us ventured down to the river via a path that a man supposedly constructed.  The story goes that this man started a path from his village down to the bottom where the river is.  However, as we were driving on the road we passed by a pretty beat up and rusty car… supposedly the very man that constructed the road was coming back home when a rock slide crushed his car and killed him.  The path is quite impressive for someone to have done it as a private project.  It was a tough hike but well worth it!  Here you can kinda see how steep parts were.  My walking up and down the 7 flights of stairs everyday really came in handy!


    This was about 3/4ths of the way down the mountain.  The river is that brown water that’s behind my friends here.  It was quite a strong river.  Our driver was telling us that just the day before we were there that a boy had gone out into the water to play but was swept away.  Crazy.


    Our hike was full of breath-taking scenery and postcard like pictures!  So cool.  This place wasn’t the very touristy place to see the river so it was really nice to basically have the path to ourselves!  The only drawback is that Lucy and Heng Yee weren’t able to join us because the hike would have been really hard for them to do.


    Happy hikers!  This was on the way down.  Needless to say, our faces weren’t quite the same when we had to go back UP!


    Finally at the bottom!


    Here we are in Shangerila going to the top of one of the snow mountains.  It’s nice that they have these convenient gondola things so you don’t actually have to hike all the way up!


    Brr!  The temp was supposedly around 4C, but with the windchill factor I’m sure that it was around 0 or even less!!  You’re supposed to get a fabulous view from the top of this mountain… but as you can see it was a little cloudy/foggy.  No great pictures but I think maybe it was more fun to be SO cold.


    Here’s the very top!  The Tibetan prayer flags were pretty in the wind.


    4500 meters high!  That’s my new record.  Supposedly that’s about as high as Mt. Whitney in California!  Breathing wasn’t too hard but climbing several stairs put me just a little out of breath.  It was far too cold to be thinking about whether we could breathe or not!


    Here is a famous Tibetan drink.  I think that they should call it Tibetan Tea instead of it’s real name… it would scare a lot less people because this tea is called… Yak Butter Tea.  It comes in sweet or savory (salty).  We got the sweet one.  We were all very nervous to drink it.  The smell is less than ideal for tea but once I finally drank it, it was pretty good.  It was very similar to a really rich milk tea.  I think a lot of my companions couldn’t get past the name and didn’t give it a fair chance, but I think I had about 3 bowls!


    Yay for new friends!  This is Er Lu.  She used to live in Kunming with my roommates but is now working in Shangerila.  She was so fun!  This is a picture of the “Three Street Gang”, or at least that’s what I’m calling them.  They all have the word “Lu” in their names, which means road!

    Now for some fun people pics!


    Quite the fashion statement!


    Sorry for the poor quality, but Molly this one is for you.  A store called Panda House!  With a little boy wearing a PANDA vest and hoodie!!!  The vest is a panda hugging the person wearing it with the hood being the panda head!

    What a fun trip!  Guess it’s time to get back to work though.  Summer is officially over on Wednesday as I’ll be back in school.  I suppose I should get to my summer homework too… eeks!

    I hope all is well where you are!



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